Orange NSW has a long and storied history of fruit growing. When settlers first arrived in the 19th century they saw the potential in the mineral-rich, volcanic soil and set to work planting the area’s first apple, cherry and stonefruit orchards. Following the crucial arrival of railway in 1877, the very first grapeseeds were sewn and table grape commercial production was soon in motion.
Though long famed for the bounty and diversity of produce throughout the region, Orange is relatively young as a wine area. Steeped with a hallmark cooperative spirit, the first pioneers of the Orange wine industry were family operations, with early plantings taking place in 1980 by the Fardell’s at Nashdale (Nashdale Vineyard) and the Bourke’s at Millthorpe (Sons & Brothers). Other early wine grape growers included Murray Smith (Canobolas-Smith) and the D'Aquino family (Highland Heritage). By the mid 1980s the Doyle (Bloodwood), Swanson (Cargo Road Wines) and Crawford (Forest Edge) families had also established vineyards. It is thanks to these early pioneers that we have the success that is the Orange winemaking industry today.
In 1988, high-profile winemaker Philip Shaw arrived in Orange after many years searching for the perfect site. This drew a lot of attention from the industry and helped to put Orange on the map as an emerging region to watch.
By the mid-1990s planting in the region exploded and a new era of wine production emerged, and the Orange wine region now boasts more than 60 vineyards and 40 cellar doors and has truly emerged as one of Australia’s high quality wine producing regions.